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Platinum shining bright amid gloom

PLATINUM Asset Management is a conspicuous success story among managers of international equity funds.

In fact, it is the only main-stream investment manager to have achieved positive returns from international equities over the past 12 months.

Ratings agency ASSIRT has just released a glowing report on Platinum, describing its strong reputation as “well deserved”.

ASSIRT has affirmed the five-star rating for Platinum’s International Fund and upgraded its European and Japan funds from four-star to five-star.

Platimum has a distinctive investment style that is closer to many hedge funds than main-stream managed funds.

It has an “absolute return” focus, meaning it seeks positive returns even if the market

at large is in negative territory.

It achieves this by astute stock picking (ie buying under-valued stocks) and short selling over-valued stocks. In this way, Platinum gains when these stocks fall in price.

In contrast, most investment managers focus on relative re-turns – this means their objective is to outperform the index (eg the Dow Jones or the S&P/ASX200).

Consequently, when the overall market suffers a big fall – as occurred over the past year - then most funds will record negative returns.

A challenge for Platinum is to sustain its impressive returns at a time when its funds under management have grown strongly. Over the past two years, funds under management have more than doubled to $5.5 billion.

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